Caring for the poor part of US Catholic Church's history, says cardinal
Published: October 12, 2012
ST. LOUIS (CNS) -- Catholic Charities USA "has helped shape the service of God's love into an essential part of American culture," the president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum said in an address in St. Louis. Since the beginnings of the Catholic Church in the U.S., Cardinal Robert Sarah said, Catholics in this country have always been inspired by Christ's love to serve the poor. But now "the church in America and Catholic Charities face challenges that threaten this heritage" from "an aggressive secularism ... (which) seeks to set up a culture without God," he said. The cardinal, who was making his first trip to the U.S. as head of the Vatican's charity promotion agency, spoke during the recent national convention of Catholic Charities USA in St. Louis, which was attended by more than 500 members of Catholic Charities agencies nationwide. "Gateway to Opportunities and Justice" was the theme of the gathering, drawing on the agency's mission and the city's nickname, "Gateway to the West." It also marked the centennial of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Cardinal Sarah brought greetings from the Vatican and during his talk discussed "caritas" or charity worldwide, drawing heavily from Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" ("God Is Love"). He cited current attacks on freedom of religion in the U.S., pointing to pressure put on Catholic Charities' adoption agencies to place children with same-sex couples or withdraw from adoption care.
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